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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  January 26, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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have two seats open, one of these guys has to be black. gave the shorter term to the black guy but did send the black guy to the senate. that's what power looks like. if you want your legislative agenda to be passed, you have to have state power. >> charles, we're going to have to leave it there, as you can see, the clock is ordering us to wrap it up. charles blow's new book "the devil you know," first book too, "fire shut up in my bones," it's a work of art. charles blow gets tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. well, good evening once again, day seven of the biden administration. this was the day they went big on vaccines. today the president ordered 200
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million more doses, a surge in vaccines, a surge to the states, all part of what he described as a war time undertaking. >> we will increase overall weekly vaccination distributions to states, tribes and territories from 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses. starting next week that's increase of 1.4 million doses per week. this can allow millions of more americans to get vaccinated sooner than previously anticipated. >> the president also had a few things to say about the trump administration's vaccine distribution program. >> we have recently discovered in the final days of the transition, and it wasn't until the final days we got the cooperation we needed, that once we arrived, a vaccine program was in worse shape than we anticipated or expected. >> again the headline is this,
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the president says he's directed his team to buy an additional 200 million doses, that would be enough to vaccinate most americans by the end of this coming summer. there's much more on the vaccine effort just ahead in this broadcast. as biden tries to get a handle on the uncontrolled pandemic, he is also moving forward with erasing more signs of the trump era because elections have consequences. nbc news reporting trump zero tolerance policy at border that led to separation of migrant families has been rescinded. signed four executive orders with a goal to addressing systemic racism. on capitol hill, senators were sworn in for donald trump's second impeachment trial slated to begin week of february 8. not long after that, kentucky republican rand paul forced a
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vote on whether the trial itself is unconstitutional because trump is no longer in office. >> this proceeding, which would try a private citizen and not a president, vice president or civil officer violates the constitution and is not in order. >> the history and precedent is clear. the senate has the power to try former officials. >> we have a distinguished law professor standing by to talk about this. but many legal experts, indeed we should point out say the trial is completely constitutional. the senate has tried former office holders before in its history. 17 republicans would have to cross over and join with all 50 democrats in the senate to convict the former president. this afternoon 55 senators agreed the trial does not violate the constitution. only five republican senators --
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murkowski -- collins, agreed. including mitch mcconnell voted against trying donald trump. >> the vote we took today is essentially a mirror of the vote at the end. republicans don't show they think the trial is constitutional. shows you they're not going to win. >> that's rapid paul. axios is reporting senators tim kaine and susan collins are pitching colleagues on bipartisan resolution to censure the former president. democrats had a scare when pat leahy, senator from vermont was briefly hospitalized after feeling ill. leahy is third in line to the presidency as president pro tem
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to the senate. he's back home and looking forward to work tomorrow. as for the criminal investigation and capitol riot that started it all, the fbi has opened 400 cases. so far 150 people have been charged. at a closed door briefing with house members today, acting head of the capitol police apologized for security failures and said this, quote, we knew that militia groups and white supremacist organizations would be attending, and also knew some were intending to bring firearms and other weapons. we knew there was a strong potential for violence and that congress was the target. today the "washington post" broke the news that quote the commander of the d.c. national guard said the pentagon restricted his authority ahead of the riot, requiring higher level sign off to respond that cost time as events spiralled out of control. other headlines, the senate
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confirmed tony blinken as secretary of state, carrying out the commitment to reverse the trump america first doctrine. and joe biden had first phone call as president with vladimir putin. white house said he pressed on the hack, the reports of bounties on u.s. troops in afghanistan and poisoning of alexei navalny, in short the kind of phone call putin hasn't had with an american president in over four years now. this afternoon a fox news reporter tried to get biden to reveal more details about the call. >> mr. president, what did you talk to vladimir putin about? >> you. >> with that let's bring in our
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leadoff guests on this tuesday night. philip rucker, pulitzer prize winning senior washington correspondent for the "washington post." melissa murray who clerked for sonia sotomayor on the u.s. court of appeals and michael mcfaul, "from cold war to hot peace: an american ambassador in putin's russia." thank you all. phil, 45 republicans voted to make it go away today. what are we looking at? are there offramps? will censure work. a straight ahead vote preventing the president from holding office in the future work? a chance at a plea deal? an ugly common ground both
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parties would accept? >> yeah, brian, i think any and all of those options may be on the table and perhaps more republicans would be willing to support the censure vote. what was clear today, this remains donald trump's republican party. he may be canceled on social media, silenced on twitter, effectively in exile at mar-a-lago, but he still controls the elected republicans in the congress, most of them, as if he were there puppeteer. i think that's why you saw 45 senators who just less than four weeks ago endured an insurrection on their place of work, under attack at the capitol, do not fault the president for it. trying to give him a pass and opposing this impeachment trial even as it is proceeding with the trial commencing here in the next couple of weeks and ultimate vote on the floor.
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>> professor, at end of the broadcast we're going to get to crowd of mostly republicans who know better by dint of brains or education or life experience, they know better than the way they're voting. of those 45 republicans who voted today to let this go in effect, so many of them know better, and i know i've asked you this on this broadcast before, but for all of people who heard about the vote and rand paul's point, is it or is it not constitutional to try for impeachment in the senate a person who is no longer in office? >> well, again to be clear, this is not a substantive disagreement with the underlying charge in the article of impeachment. it's a procedural disagreement, and that is that you can't impeach someone no longer president. as i've said before on the show and many other constitutional law scholars agree, it seems as
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matter of constitutional design that the framers, so intent on securing the country from the threat of tyranny, from a president or congress, would never have allowed impeachment to be avoided or accountability to be avoided simply because a president had completed term of office. would make the president entirely above the law. for most constitutional scholars this doesn't make much sense at all. >> as a practical matter, professor, future presidents would know to leave all the dirty and bad stuff until the last week or two of their presidency because there would be no consequences, correct? >> that's exactly the point. and more to the point, it would make the impeachment clause to be basically superfluous. it not only provides for removing a president upon conviction, it allows for disqualification of a president holding future office or any
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public officer for that matter. to say you can't impeach a former public officer means disqualification is surplus, which doesn't make sense either. >> ambassador mcfaul, joe biden is the fifth american president that vladimir putin has dealt with. here's reminder what the fourth was like. >> i think i will get along with putin. i got to know him well, both on "60 minutes," stable mates. he says i'm the future of the republican party. if we have a good relationship with russia, that's a good thing. i believe that he feels that he and russia did not meddle in the election. he said it's not russia, i don't see any reason it would be. >> did you want president trump
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to win the election? and did you direct officials to help him do that? >> translator: yes, i did. >> would be great to get along with russia, and we will. we get along, i like putin, he likes me. we get along. >> so ambassador, what is it going to be like for vladimir putin to get renormalized without a supplicant american president to deal with? >> it's going to be different. president biden is not going to try to befriend president putin but probably going to get more things done than president donald trump done, including extending new s.a.l.t. treaty. donald trump was in power four years and never got anything done as i remember, in america's national interest. what you saw in the readout, brilliant, having read and written some of them -- which is
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new in and of itself. didn't get these last four years, but in one paragraph captured what biden wants to do with russia. engage in america's interest, new treaty, contain his belligerent behavior. solar winds and ukraine and meddling didn't occur in phone calls and talk about human rights like alexei navalny. that's the new look at russia. >> for those who don't know what a readout is, you experienced this in your job, when two leaders talk on both sides there are note takers, people listening on dead key, realtime interpreters on both ends and traditionally a document is produced because so much is at stake between two superpowers telling the media what
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transpired. trump famously took the notes from a note taker. we famously don't know what was discussed between both of these guys during most of their face-to-face conversations, an as you point out, donald trump was a completely different character. joe biden doesn't want to be putin's friend, there's no swooning there. >> two things, first of all on the job, my first moment of work at the white house was president obama's first call to president medvedev in 2009. what you described is exactly right. you're in the room, listening and do a readout of the call. let's be honest, don't know exactly what they talked about but what the white house wants us to think they talked about. but that's the purpose of the readout too, to define policy. it was great statement of
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policy. implementing it will be a lot harder. but it's a start. but second piece is vitally important. president biden has no expectations whatsoever of being president putin's friend whereas the last president defined as his only objective in u.s./russian relations being putin's friend and i don't think he even succeeded in that. president biden understands the difference between objectives and the means. >> phil rucker, this is how it circles back to you, unfair even given new title to ask you after seven days about the governing style of the new president but i just did anyway. yeah. brian, you know, ambassador mcfaul described it well in the different ways they handle the
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phone calls, there's a normalcy with the biden administration and little bit jarring to watch having chronicled four years of the trump administration where decisions are made by impulse and policies announced on the fly and there's been just a methodical and deliberate day by day rollout of agendas. today was about the coronavirus vaccine and getting additional doses out there and trying to instill confidence in americans that vaccines will be available to more people in weeks to come. but series of economic executive orders, climate issues coming up. might seem boring to people looking for entertainment from their government, but it's entirely normal and all built on trying to instill confidence in the american people that these folks who know what they're doing, they have a plan and are
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taking charge from day one. >> i know a lot of people on board for boring. professor i'd like to give you the last word. i'm guessing you thought it was a good start to hear an american president today talk the way humans talk about the death of george floyd. i'm guessing you believe the executive actions, mere mention of combatting systemic racism was a good start. also wondering what the biden administration should do next in your view on that front. >> it was a good start, especially after the last four years where we've seen little progress on many of these issues. one of the things mentioned throughout the day though, in the executive order prohibiting the use of private prisons, wasn't much mention of immigration which is something the administration has to take
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on. but president biden and executive orders are not only actors here. a court in southern district of texas enjoined an order for a stay on immigration. there are other ways, other branches can prevent the administration from advancing its agenda. >> our sincere thanks for coming on. coming up, tricky logistics, getting shots in arms of all americans by mid to late summer perhaps, and are the new virus strains going to outsmart the shots? >> later, insurrection threatened their lives, today most republican senators saying no big. reaction from steve schmidt and jason johnson as "the 11th hour"
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we didn't get into this mess overnight. and it's going to take months for us to turn things around. but let me be equally clear, we're going to get through this. >> president says states will now be getting up to a three-week heads up on designated vaccine supplies. they've been flying blind the entire way thus far. way more vaccine doses are on the way but numbers are numbing. 1 in 13 americans have contracted the virus, roughly 1% of the u.s. population has been vaccinated. now just as more contagious mutations are spreading, word arrived today that number of confirmed cases worldwide topped 100 million. and in this country, january has become the deadliest month of this pandemic.
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thought the distinction might go to last march. with us dr. michael osterholm, university of minnesota, member of the president's covid-19 advisory board. doc, let me see if i have this right, i am guessing that you're so very happy at the return of competence, diligence and expertise at this pursuit. on the other hand, i need you to tell our viewers what we're heading into, and i need you to reassure us that these new strains aren't going to be smart enough to render our existing vaccine formulas inert. >> well, first of all, thank you brian for having me tonight. let me just say it's difference between night and day. now have planning going on, we have a plan.
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we have transparency, people can understand what's happening, and you're going to see the vaccine situation only get better over time. doesn't mean it's taken care of overnight. still takes months to make all the vaccine we need, but in regard to other issue you raised about the variants and mutated viruses, what that means, really two areas we're concerned about. one, do they transmit more, cause more serious illness, and second area, could they defeat the immune response we have to vaccine or natural disease. first category i'm concerned about that. i've called balls and strikes with you on this issue, worst months could be ahead of us. 150,000 cases a day, down to that. remember when 70,000 cases were a lot? if these new variants take off in the united states like they have in europe, we're going to see by far the worst days over
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the course of the next 6 to 14 weeks. vaccine will help but can't vaccinate more than 12% of our nation's population. as far as the concerns about vaccines and variants, i'm not that concerned about that, some hint may be some reduced activity in immune response, but it's too early to say that. i think the vaccines are going to still work but variant is going to cause so much illness in the short-term. >> president biden today held up his mask and said in the short-term, it's masks and not vaccines that are going to save us. it's masks and not vaccines that are going to be the most direct way to save lives. the projection is we can save 50,000 souls if we just wear a mask between now and the end of the month of february. do you concur?
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>> i do in the sense that it depends on what kind of mask you're wearing. we know we need the higher level of protection. the ideal is these n-95 respirators. medical masks can play some role, face cloth covers play some role also. one of the challenges of the new viruses, they're more highly infectious. when you walk into a store, grocery store and hardware store where you've walked in many times with your mask on, today that virus level because someone is putting out much more virus may cause you to get infected today when it didn't a month ago or four months ago. distancing is by far still the very best thing, what will save the most lives. but wear your mask and get vaccinated when you can. not only save your life but
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potentially the life of those you love. >> chilling to hear from such an expert but we need to hear it. terrific to have you on. thank you for being free with your time and taking our questions. >> thank you. >> michael osterholm from the twin cities. just ahead, one of our next guests calls upcoming impeachment trial accountability and justice, remember, the things republicans used to talk about in the well of the senate? that, when we come back. [ garbage truck creaking and whirring ] [ speaking indistinctly ] [ truck beeping ] [ speaking indistinctly ] [ beeping continues ] [ engine revving ] obviously, i have not been to the zoo since.
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they don't have the votes to convict. we this 45 people, republican senators, say that the whole charade is unconstitutional. what does that mean? impeachment, the trial, is dead on arrival. there will be a show, there will be a parade of partisanship, but the democrats really will not be able to win. >> ladies and gentlemen, rand paul. with 45 senate republicans voting to dismiss donald trump's impeachment trial, "new york times" reports it this way. overwhelming level of republican support exceeded what almost anyone was expecting. back with us, jason johnson, campaign veteran, journalist, professor in politics and steve schmidt, long-time strategist,
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lincoln project, set out to defeat trump and trumpism. steve, donald trump has vanished from sight, from twitter, out of sight, out of mind in all but maga nation. why then does he only seem to live on in the minds and hearts of the sniffling cowards? >> well, good evening, brian. look, let me just start with rand paul's comments. and this is somebody who ran talking about his fidelity to the constitution. his comments are a travesty there. even in the height of jim crow in the south when there was violence done against black americans, occasionally the perpetrators, white people,
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would be brought before a jury, and a trial would take place. more often than not, in most instances, that trial acquitted those white people regardless of the preponderance of their guilt. it didn't mean just because you knew in advance they would be acquitted that there shouldn't be a trial. because one day there was accountability, there was justice. it's not about winning. it's about justice. it's a trial. we all saw the president of the united states incite a mob of white supremacists, white nationalists, extremist militia, fascist proud boys, he incited them to violence. he attacked the capitol, the capitol fell, the american flag was torn down and the maga flag raised in its place. floor of the united states senate and house of
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representatives was desecrated. the mob was there to kill the vice president and speaker of the house. didn't succeed but killed five people, including bludgeoning a police officer to death. there must be accountability for an attack against the people of the united states, against the people's government, government of the people, by the people, for the people. so it doesn't matter. we'll see the complicity, the cowardice, we'll see the subordination of their oath of office to the constitution as they once again assert their loyalty to donald trump. and the american people will once again get to take their measure. it is a good thing that donald trump has been removed from power. but he leaves behind a real deal autocratic movement in this country. and that movement is sustained in part by the cynicism of the
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elected elites of the republican party, men like kevin mccarthy and ted cruz and josh hawley, and men like rand paul. this is why you're seeing an action by corporate america saying 147 members of congress that rose an enaction, would have disenfranchised, eradicated the voice of millions of americans on the basis of their skin color, that vote after the violent insurrection was a crossing of the rubicon and companies are saying no more donations. i think you'll see $100 million to $200 million come out of the political committees that support these members. we're at time of great turbulence in the country, as the president tries to deal with this crisis, there must be accountability and justice, not just for the incited who stormed
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the capitol and did the violence, but for the inciters, starting with the president of the united states but also senators hawley, senator cruz, and majority leader -- former, now minority leader, mccarthy in the house of representatives. >> professor johnson, even though we're friends, i'm going to ask you, since his name was invoked, to watch this with us. as you do, remember this is a product of princeton and harvard law school. ted cruz on "hannity". >> this is driven by partisan rage and anger the democrats feel. they hate donald j. trump and they're engaging in an act i think is petty, retribution, vindictive and i think a waste of time. to coin a phrase i think it's time to move on, to focus on
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helping people get back to work, beat this global pandemic, bringing people back to where we should be, not these partisan games the democrats are playing. >> jason, that's how a guy whose desk was looted talks about this. it's anger of the democrats, it's petty. my question to you is, what is the chance that it's something less than an impeachment trial, that there is some off-ramp, plea bargain, where is this headed? >> it's going nowhere because of disenginuous pablum from ted cruz who is a coward, thinks he's going to catch the magic rings of the maga universe and put them on his fingers and become president in 2024. that's what it's about. don't want to work with the democrats or hold donald trump
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accountable because they think the benefits will accrue to them one day. why what ted cruz did was disgusting, not only instigator and intelligent enough to know it's constitutional, he couldn't let benghazi go like a rabid dog, screaming and yelling for years. but insurrection that killed five people that we're still finding out more and more that it's likely members of his own party helped provide information and facilitate this attack, suddenly two weeks is enough time to move past it. that's what's so disturbing about it. collins and tim kaine saying maybe censure or idea we can just have a vote whether or not donald trump can run again, none of the republicans are going to engage in that behavior because they still want this revolution to occur and those who don't somehow think they can run for president in 2024 off the face
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of five dead people and undermining the country. >> both gentlemen have agreed to stay with us as i fit in a break. when we come back, so many republican senators without the conviction to convict. t.
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notwithstanding mcconnell's, let's call it a test vote today, the old campaigner, editor and chief of american nihilist magazine mitch mcconnell would vote to convict at this time? >> next to nil, and not understanding how anyone would understand they haven't talked. brady/belichick relationship, here to win, not talk. mitch mcconnell will say all the things, that donald trump provoked but didn't incite things but under no circumstances is he remotely interested in holding president trump accountable, that's not in his ideology and not going to ask anybody in his caucus to do. but by not having communication with the president indicates something everybody needs to understand about the republican party, they weren't behaving
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this way just because of donald trump. it's like dum bo and the feather, it was always within them. republicans were always a white nationalist party, that's what they decided to sell out to. doesn't mean not going to keep same agenda, just not somebody tweeting to a million bots every week to see what they're doing. >> i see your brady and raise you patrick mahomes. he maintains his 90% voting record, he voted on trump's side today. do we in the news media and chattering class were giving members of the senate too much credit for how quickly they might migrate away from donald trump?
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because this is a whole new kind of criminal cognitive dissonance, steve, some are going to sit here at the trial at desks looted and defiled, in a chamber that was taken over and to get to the chamber, they will walk past damage. >> we have a crisis of cowardice in this country. look at two elements in the united states senate. because there are two of the elements that always surround and make possible any autocratic movement. we have two types of people in there. we have the accomplices. we have the cynical elites, hawley, cruz, stanford, yale, professorships at oxford, a clerkship to the chief justice of the united states. they know the election was free, fair and legitimate, they know
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this is all a lie. but they are cynical and arrogant enough to believe they can ride the tiger, they can advantage themselves by going into business with the people that they have contempt for, the people outside who stormed the capitol. and then there's the sheep, the people who just go along to get along, accommodationists, what rob portman is, one foot in front of the other. would be a lovely person to live next door to, would be a great guy for your kids to wave to, would be great to have an eye on the neighbor but he's a terrible united states senator because he doesn't understand that sometimes his job requires conflict. and the conflict that it requires is to stand up and to assert his faithfulness and
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fidelity to the constitution of the united states, which was attacked. attacked by that mob incited by hawley and cruz. there is no moving on from this. the people's government was attacked. that night, 147 of them rose. if they succeeded, if that vote had passed, what would have happened? 244-year-old american republic would have fallen. if they had succeeded, even at height of jim crow there was never a federal action to take away black votes, nullify them, from states that had certified a result. we're in new territory with all of this. so there will be accountability, by the end of the month, 1,000 people will have been arrested by federal law enforcement authorities and there will ultimately as facts become clear be accountability for the political leadership of the
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country that also incited this. some of them are u.s. senators, some are house members, but for sure we're not moving on as a country until there's accountability for one of the worst crimes in the history of the country. >> steve schmidt, jason johnson, thanks to two longtime friends of the broadcast. coming up for us, what's being called america's obligation, and costly mission, nothing short of saving the world from this pandemic when we come back. interesting story. not the doubts, distractions, or voice in my head. and certainly not arthritis. voltaren provides powerful arthritis pain relief to help me keep moving. and it can help you too. feel the joy of movement with voltaren.
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we are back with that story we wanted you to see. as we mentioned the administration trying to aggressively expand the vaccination program, today announcing they are work to buy 200 million more doses. but the scope and the scale of the vaccine slortage reaches far beyond our shores and experts say it is on us to do more
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outside our borders. our report tonight from cynthia mcfadden. >> reporter: the world missed the united states during the pandemic says dr. larry brilliant. >> we are the indispensable country when it comes to global health, and the absence of our leadership has been felt in every state and country. >> reporter: dr. brilliant helped to eradicate smallpox. >> it was cdc. we are on the right track to dig ourselves out of a hole that we have right now. >> reporter: now he says that the united states has a critical role to play in helping the world access the vaccine. >> this is a pandemic. if one country is left unvaccinated this disease will bounce back and forth.
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>> reporter: why should the u.s. make it a top priority when we can't solve vaccine distribution here in the u.s.? >> the problem of not solving the vaccine distribution will be measured in lives. >> not just international lives but american lives. >> reporter: the numbers are stunning. canada has preordered enough vaccine to innoculate every citizen nearly six times and the u.s. has enough purchase options to vaccinate everyone five times leaving much of the world scrambling. >> australia, canada and japan have less than 1% of the coronavirus cases but have more doses than all of latin america and the caribbean which have close to 20%. >> reporter: that is where covax comes in, coalition of global health players, world health organization and unicef. the starting goal buy $2 billion
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of vaccine to innoculate 20% of the population in the world's poorest countries, considered the greatest logistical undertaking in history. >> a billion syringes. >> yeah. it is mind-boggling numbers. >> reporter: securing the vaccine is the most challenging but covax has contracts for 2 million doses. they are also short on funding. >> the initiative has how much money in hand? >> already $2 billion. >> how much do you need to make it happen? >> $17 billion for everything. >> there are a lot of people that say this is way too expensive. >> this is way too expensive for america not to get involved in. how can you not afford the
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billions of dollars to save the trillions of dollars. >> reporter: an expensive reality that america must face. important story. coming up, when a politician says i am just one of you. check their resume, it usually means they're not. , it usually means they're not. to get in . you know what he will get? muscle pain. give up, the couch is calling. i say, it's me, the couch, i'm calling. pain says you can't. advil says you can. i think the sketchy website i bought this turtle from stole all of my info. ooh, have you looked on the bright side? discover never holds you responsible for unauthorized purchases on your card. (giggling) that's my turtle. fraud protection. discover. something brighter.
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>> last thing before we go tonight. it is difficult to remember such vitriol aimed at one united states senator, but it is a bad time to be josh hawley. the men and the women of the lincoln project will not rest until josh hawley is held to account for what he did and as scheming politicians go, hawley is close to the top. certainly first ballot hall of fame. this pitch fork populist, he of the fist in the air that he must have thought in the moment looked so cool and missouri.
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hawley is, as we mentioned, a product of prep school, stanford university, yale law school. nothing wrong with a first class education, like ted cruz as we mentioned, princeton, harvard law. but that means in most cases these guys know better. hawley is campaigning he is being silenced. he is making those complaints in nearly hourly fox news national interviews. he knows better. hawley loves being on television. >> josh hawley will be one of the greatest champions. >> are you trying to say that as of january 20th that president trump will be president? >> well, that depends on what happens on wednesday. >> in the kansas city star writes plainly he has "blood on his hands." >> let's have trial by combat. >> a highly destructive attack
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on our constitutional government. the opposite of conservative. it is radical. >> and there you have it, the lincoln project to take us off of the air this evening. that is our broadcast for this tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. on behalf of all of the men and the women on the networks of nbc news, good night. we do have a lot to get to tonight, including my interview with the brand-new chairman of the democratic party, one of the perks of being elected president is that your party lets you basically pick who you want to lead your party, your national party while you are in office. joe biden has made his choice to lead the democratic party. jamie harrison as the new chair of the


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